F2G-1 BuNo 88458 was the fifth F2G-1. It carries Goodyear construction number 6167. It was tested at Port Columbus, Ohio and Naval Air Station Patuxent River from October 1945 to July 1946. The Navy retired it in January 1948. Cook Cleland bought it for spare parts, but then registered it as NX5588N. That was the same registration worn by Cleland's F2G-1 BuNo 88457, which crashed at the 1947 Thompson Trophy Race. NX5588N raced as Race #57 in the 1949 Thompson and Tinnerman Trophy Races at Cleveland, Ohio.
Ben McKillen Jr. piloted Race #57 to third place in the 1949 Thompson Trophy Race at a speed of 387.589 miles per hour, behind Cook Cleland in F2G-1 N5590N Race #94 (397.071 miles per hour) and Ron Puckett in F2G-1 N91092 Race #18 (393.527 miles per hour). McKillen won the 1949 Tinnerman Trophy Race in Race #57 at a speed of 386.069 miles per hour.
From 1950 to 1996, NX5588N passed through the hands of several owners, deteriorating progressively over years of outdoor storage. Robert J. Odegaard of Kindred, North Dakota acquired it on March 2, 1996. He performed a meticulous restoration of its appearance at the 1949 air races and returned it to airworthy condition in 1999.
Categories: Vehicle - Airplanes